Dear Annie: Money is a constant issue in our house. I need my wife to quit her part-time job at a superstore and find one with a better salary. She knows this. But every time I bring it up, she gets angry and defensive and says that I am calling her lazy. I am totally not saying that. She’s a hard worker.
We have a total of $50 in savings. We also have a young son and hope to have another child. I’d like to move into a house. To accomplish this, we need two full-time salaries. How do I bring this up without making my wife angry? I love her dearly.
— Grand Rapids, Mich.
Dear Grand Rapids: Instead of insisting that your wife find a better-paying job, try talking to her about why she wants to stay where she is. She may love her job. She may be afraid to look elsewhere. She might want to stay home with the kids and believe you should be the one to get a different job. And of course, there may be other issues of which you are unaware. Tell her that you are worried about your financial situation, and ask, gently, why she is so reluctant to deal with it. But keep in mind that while nice, a house is not a requirement for raising a family. Many couples manage just fine without one.
Dear Annie: I staunchly refuse to attend gatherings thrown by a particular friend who is obsessive about RSVPs. She insists on them for everything from a backyard BBQ to a girls’ night at the movies. Telling her “yes” over the phone or in person doesn’t count. It has to be by return mail or a response to an Evite.
I live 200 miles away. Once, I RSVP’d yes, but my car broke down two days before the event. I called immediately to tell her I wouldn’t be able to come, and she berated me for having said “yes” if it was not a sure thing, like I planned that my car would break down. Then she criticized me for not being able to afford the repairs in time. A month later, I received pictures of the trip to Europe she treated herself to in order to make up for the disappointment of my having ruined her party.
I rarely wish to be anywhere near her now and pointedly ignore all invitations that are not delivered verbally. If I can’t make it, I pretend I am treating her to her next extravagant vacation.
— Had Enough With RSVPs
Dear Had Enough: Your friend sounds like a very high-maintenance drama queen. Insisting on formal RSVP responses for informal gatherings is obsessive, and berating you for things beyond your control is punitive. We don’t know why you persist with this relationship, but since you live 200 miles away, it would be fairly simple to move out of her orbit entirely.
Dear Annie: I have to make a quick comment in response to “Feeling the Void in Indiana,” who said men feel incomplete without sex and will risk everything for it. I acknowledge and appreciate where this man is coming from. My husband also “felt the void” and did risk everything to fill it. Fortunately, we were able to work through his affair and remain together.
As the infirmities of older age begin to set in, my husband is now grateful that I stuck by him and can care for him, and he is less concerned about sex. If “Feeling” has not yet had a frank conversation with his wife about his needs and asked about her satisfaction, he is making a huge mistake. My husband thought I knew what he needed and assumed I wouldn’t care that he was pursuing satisfaction elsewhere. But he didn’t communicate clearly and never asked me whether I was happy. That cost us untold pain that could have been avoided.
— Wish It Had Been Different
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